Creating digital illustrations is one of the most popular ways to edit pictures you take or find online. You can make them in any software, such as Photoshop, Gimp, Sketch, and so forth.

By editing an illustration out of a photo, you can add new features or completely change the look of your image. This article will go into more detail about how to create a digital illustration from a photo!

Editor’s note: We have compiled a master list of our favorite free toolkits for creating artistic sketches. Check out our list here!

Disclaimer: Technically speaking, only artists are allowed to call themselves illustrators. But we thought it was appropriate to include ‘illustrator’ in the name of this article because anyone can use these tools to make beautiful images!

So let’s get started! Read on to learn some easy steps to make a personal picture become a creative piece of artwork.

Step 1 – Choose A Picture

You can pick almost anything as long as it does not contain people or animals. Pick somewhere interesting that you have already edited to show off different styles. (A closeup of your hands working with paint is perfect for showing off brush techniques!)

Make sure to give yourself enough time to work through all the steps before moving onto the next step.

Step 2 – Create An Image Background

Now that you have chosen your picture, you will want to create a background for the picture.

Make a pencil sketch of your image

how to make a digital illustration of a photo

Now that you have your base photo, it is time to start creating! The first step in making an illustration is usually to make a pencil drawing or “sketch” version of your picture. This can be done with any software such as Adobe Photoshop or Gimp which both are very accessible these days.

By doing this, you will break down the process into two parts; designing and artistic rendering, setting up the initial design and building upon what has been designed before. You can also do this at a more advanced level by exploring different styles and techniques but for now, we will stick to basics.

After your sketches are finished, you can then take your digital artwork and add more detail onto it. For example, if you were trying to draw a house, you could go in and trace over some lines to create windows and doors, or you could use premade house templates to apply those shapes and patterns onto your house.

Transfer the sketch to your computer

how to make a digital illustration of a photo

Now that you have your drawing in both vector format and pixel format, it’s time to bring them together. You can do this by copying the image into an appropriate program such as Photoshop or Gimp.

In either case, make sure that “Convert for Use In Documents” is checked. This will ensure that the file is compatible with other software like word processors and pages made with it.

After doing so, you can go ahead and edit the illustration if needed! Simply drag and drop the element onto the design toolbox of your choice. If there are icons used, you can find those resources later down.

And don’t forget to save each file before moving forward.

Draw your image using a graphics tablet

how to make a digital illustration of a photo

When creating an illustration, there are many ways to go about it. One way is to use Photoshop or another similar editing software as a starting place for your design. By doing this, you can add texture, color, and other features to your picture later.

The best way to do this is to draw your image using a graphics tablet. Graphics tablets allow you to control the position and angle of your brush in relation to the surface being painted onto. You can also move the cursor around the canvas to create different shapes and textures.

There are several types of graphics tablets that work differently, so experiment with one out before buying! Some have you hold down a button while dragging the cursor across the screen, others have you pull up a menu after pressing a button, and some require you drag along a curved track.

Edit your image using some of the following programs

how to make a digital illustration of a photo

In this step, you will be editing your illustration in one of two applications depending on whether you are using Windows or macOS as your computer’s operating system.

For windows users, the software that can be used to edit digital illustrations is called Photoshop. For mac users, there is an app called Adobe Muse which has functions similar to photoshop.

Both apps have several features such as the ability to add text to your design, create new documents or pages, and manipulate shapes and colors.

However, the main difference between both apps is how they organize all of their tools. Some things like brushes, fonts, and other elements are organized into categories and you have to go through these settings to use them.

This article will show you how to make an illustrative photo frame in Photoshop and then convert it into an ebook using Amazon Kindle program settings.

a) Adobe Photoshop

how to make a digital illustration of a photo

One of the most popular editing software programs is Adobe Photoshop. It is known for having very intuitive interfaces as well as powerful features that can be used to edit almost any type of media.

One of its many uses is creating digital illustrations. You can take one photo and draw your own illustration or you can use an existing, pre-designed artwork as the basis for your new illustration.

You can also add in some additional touches such as adding effects, text, or changing the color of the image. All of these changes are done using the program’s tools so there really isn’t anything else you should learn about it.

There are several ways to go about doing this but my favorite way is to use an already designed element as our source material.

b) Adobe Illustrator

how to make a digital illustration of a photo

When it comes down to it, creating an illustrative style image is mostly just using good design practices and then importing your chosen tool’s presets or features that create similar images. There are many free and paid applications that offer this kind of feature-making. Some examples include:

Photoshop – layers, styles, shapes, vector files, etc.

Gimp – hue, saturation, value, contrast, color balance, etc.

Inkscape – vectors, colors, linetypes, layer compositon, pattern masks, etc.

SketchUp – textures, patterns, brushes, shape tools, layer settings, etc.

CorelDRAW – templates, artistic effects, special brush types, etc.

Illustrator – like most apps these days, you can access all kinds of texture and pattern tools in the item > effect menu!

Photoshop has some of the best built-in art stock that anyone could use for inspiration, but none of them look exactly the same as what you would make yourself. This is where making your own artwork comes into play! 🙂

There are several ways to take your new illustration ideas further by adding additional decorations, textures, or other enhancements.

c) Adobe Photoshop Elements

If you have Photoshop or photoshop element, then creating your own illustrations is much simpler than people make it out to be. All you need to do is take some pictures that you like, pick an appropriate background and color for the image, and create your new illustration!

There are many free tools available online and in apps where you can upload and edit photos. Some of the most common ways to start designing your own images include using pre-made templates or stock imagery as sources for your designs.

By adding textures, shapes, and colors to an already established framework, you will be able to give your design its own unique flavor that fits with your brand!

This article will go more into detail about how to use Photoshop to create your own illustrations.

d) Pixel Art Studio

how to make a digital illustration of a photo

A great way to make your own digital illustrations is by in-depth studying of pixel art! There are many sites that offer easy ways to create your own pixel art, but some take it one step further and allow you to create your own designs or even add new layers to existing designs!

One such tool is called Pixel Art Studio. This free software allows you to pick an image or video as your source material, then edit it to fit into a grid style pattern. You can then begin layering different textures, patterns, and colors onto your design!

There are two main things you will need to learn with this program- color theory and symmetry. Color theory teaches you how to choose appropriate shades for your pixels, while symmetry helps you find balance in your designs.


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